East Jakarta Halim Airport welcomes domestic Indonesian flights

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The Halim Perdanakusuma Airport is located in East Jakarta in the Indonesian capital Jakarta,

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The Halim Perdanakusuma Airport is located in East Jakarta in the Indonesian capital Jakarta,

This airport is also used for military, private and presidential purposes. Government officials are also allowed to use it. In 2007, President of the United States George W. Bush landed at this airport on his visit to Indonesia. Former Indonesian President Suharto’s hearse was airlifted to Solo in Central Java on 28 January 2008.

On January 10, 2014, Halim Perdanakusuma initial to serve domestic sheduled commercial aircraft for easing overloaded Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.

ommercial flights officially began operating out of Halim Perdanakusuma Airport on Friday, with PT Citilink Indonesia being the first commercial airline to arrive and depart from the airport.

“We have relocated some flights from Soekarno-Hatta [International Airport] in order to reduce the backlog during certain hours because that airport can only handle 64 flights per hour, yet it has to deal with 70 flights per hour,” Deputy Transportation Minister Bambang Susantono said at Halim.

Around 177 passengers from Yogyakarta, who arrived an hour late at 8:05 on the first scheduled flight at Halim, were welcomed with wreaths of flowers that were draped around their necks and greeted by traditional Betawi dances.

Low-cost carrier Citilink CEO Arif Wibowo said the company’s overall operation on the first day ran smoothly despite the delay.

“The flight was delayed solely because we had an opening ceremony today,” Arif said.

Citilink has relocated 16 scheduled commercial flights to Yogyakarta, Semarang (Central Java), Malang (East Java) and Palembang (South Sumatra), from Soekarno-Hatta to Halim.

“We basically chose to relocate these four routes because they are the busiest routes, with occupancy rates of 85 percent per flight,” Arif said. “Also, Halim is obviously easier to reach for passengers living in East and South Jakarta — which basically makes it more convenient for many of our customers.”

He also said it was easier for the airline to manage flight slots at Halim.

“We only get the leftover slots at Soekarno-Hatta airport because we’re a newcomer in the business, which sometimes means our aircraft rotation and flying hours are not optimal,” said Arif.

Citilink is targeting a total of 8.5 million passengers this year, with 1.1 million of them set to be served at Halim. In 2013, the airline carried 5.4 million passengers, nearly a twofold increase from 2.8 million in 2012.

National flag carrier Garuda Indonesia will be the second airline operating scheduled flights at Halim airport, which was inaugurated in late February 1972. The airline will serve routes to Yogyakarta, Semarang (Central Java), Surabaya (East Java), Palembang (South Sumatra) and Pontianak (West Kalimantan) from Halim.

Low-cost carrier AirAsia will relocate some of its flights, including routes serving Yogyakarta, Medan (North Sumatra) and Surabaya, in March.

Meanwhile, passengers using the airport for the first time enjoyed the new atmosphere despite predictions of possible congestion on the road leading to the airport.

Eli, 41, said the new airport made her journeys by air easier due to its proximity to her house.

“I live in the Air Force’s housing complex, so I only need five minutes to get here from my house,” she said, while waiting for her flight to Yogyakarta at 11:20 a.m.

The traffic along Jl. Cililitan Besar and Jl. Komodor Halim Perdanakusuma was reported as smooth at 8 a.m., with no gridlock taking place.

Jakarta Transportation Agency head Udar Pristono said the agency found no traffic disruptions on the first day of the opening.

“This is only a soft launch and there are only 16 flights today. But, we have to anticipate traffic congestion [that may happen in the future] as the government aims to maximize operations to six flights per hour,” Udar said.

State-owned bus company Perum Damri and five taxi companies were ready to serve passengers from Halim, he said.

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Editor in chief is Linda Hohnholz.